Blue skies over Beijing.
Beijing Travel Blog› entry 36 of 251 › view all entries
April 21st, 2008 – by: cmgervais
Up early to rainy skies. We dawdled all morning, not relishing the idea of getting wet, but needing to atone for yesterday's Big Day of Rest. We were finally out the door just before 9.
It was cold. I had to go back up to the apartment to get more clothes and switch cameras -- didn't want the good one getting waterlogged.
Then we tried a new tactic -- waiting in front of our apartment and hoping for a stray cab. No luck.
It was cold. The rain was really coming down. Steve doesn't have a rain jacket was getting drenched. Oops, looks like this camera doesn't have a memory card.
So we went to the Carrefour mall near our apartment for memory card, jacket, and umbrellas.
No problem getting a cab as rush hour was over. Our first stop was the train station to purchase tickets to Xian, where the terracotta soldiers live. It took us some time to find the special "ticket sales for foreign people" line, but we were able to secure sleepers on the overnight train to and from Xian, leaving on Wednesday. Whew, nice to have that settled!
Next we wanted to check out Friendship Store, a Beijing department store we had read about in Fodor's. The cab drivers all said NO, NO, and one pointed across the street and indicated we should take the pedestrian overpass.
OK, now we must check some sights off our list. We grabbed a cab to Lama Temple (of course the driver dropped us in some alley opposite the entrance gate).
From there we wanted to walk through a hutong (one of the ancient neighborhoods). Not sure where we were, but it wasn't very nice at all -- maybe they have some cleaner versions elsewhere for us to check out? When we got near our destination -- Confucious Temple -- the neighborhood improved dramatically.
Many of the buildings at Confucious Temple were closed, but I loved this place. We strolled the grounds, admiring 700-year old Cyprus trees, lilacs, and -- of course -- the blue sky. One Cyprus has a crazy mess of gnarly knotted protrusions all the way up its trunk -- we just could not figure it out. (Look at the photos and tell me if you know what happened to this tree!) I bought a deck of "Old Beijing" playing cards from the kitschy souvenir shop.
It has been three days (!) since our last foot massage (and we don't want Lisa to miss out!), so we headed over to Ya Show Clothing market, the site of our first $4 foot massage.
We were getting hungry at this point, so we sat outside and studied our guidebooks for a good option. We want Sichuan-style Chinese food -- something spicy! We ended up at Xiheyaju and were very happy with our choice -- it was excellent! Delicious food, wonderful atmosphere -- I will do a review soon.
We strolled around the neighborhood, looking for a convenience store where we could purchase some water. We ended up in a fantastic little grocery store that had inexpensive liquors, wines, and many English-labeled food items.
I still have a cold but all that sunshine really put me in a good mood today. Beijing looks much better in blue!
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